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Author Topic: Seat belt use in party buses, band buses, etc?  (Read 3448 times)
bevans6
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« on: November 16, 2011, 01:13:36 PM »

I was reading on an RV forum about seatbelt use in class A coaches, and most everyone said "always, it's the law, every passenger, all the time" which I kind of understand and agree with.  But I thougth about party buses - no one is wearing a belt in a party bus, or in an executive bus.  And band buses - I think people make lunch, sit at the table, on the couch, sleep in the bunks, and rarely wear seatbelts.  I don't even know if tour buses have seat belts these days.  So what is the deal in those types of buses?

Brian
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2011, 01:39:13 PM »

My understanding is that the law requires any seatbelts originally fitted by the vehicle's maker to be used.   However, older vehicles often were not fitted with seatbelts.   For example, my bus came from the factory with one (count it, just one!) passenger seatbelt on the front right seat, and no others.   I guess the other passengers were more expendable.   If a party bus or band bus was professionally converted or made and it doesn't have seatbelts, is there any requirement to fit them if it's converted to another use?

However, common sense dictates that all occupants should be securely restrained, regardless of how the vehicle was originally built.   Where it gets difficult is retro-fitting seatbelts so they are at least as strong and secure as the OEM's.

John
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2011, 03:09:56 PM »

Every US state is different. Illinois seat belt law.

IANAL.

I believe the exception for most of the buses you mentioned would be:
Quote
8. A motor vehicle which is not required to be equipped with seat safety belts under federal law.


But for some of our friends around here, the following exception would apply:
Quote
5. A motor vehicle with a model year prior to 1965.


-jbn
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2011, 04:12:51 PM »

I guess it boils down to--has anyone on this forum ever received a summons for not wearing a seatbelt (driver or passenger)?
I believe all passengers should use seat belts when available, but trips to the bathroom or kitchen are normal for passengers on long trips. I don't recall ever seeing seat belts in the bathroom Grin
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bevans6
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2011, 04:55:14 PM »

I'm actually not asking what the laws are, or what the smart thing to do is, I'm asking what people actually do on those kinds of buses.  On a band bus, sleeps 8 or 10 in bunks, does anyone give a seconds thought to seatbelts?  Executive limo bus?  Is the onus on the driver, or the passengers to be compliant to whatever law might exist?

Brian

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belfert
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2011, 05:04:48 PM »

I have never seen any bus type of vehicle with seat belts yet.  I have not personally been in a band bus.

There are some pushing to require seat belts for coach buses and MCI offers seats with integral seat belts for passengers.  I have no idea how this might work if one state requires seat belts and the rest don't.  Would older buses be exempt?  I could see some big bills for charter operators if they had to retrofit seat belts.

There was a recent post I saw that said law enforcement is reluctant to pull over motorhomes mainly for the personal safety of the officer.  An officer either has to enter a vehicle he/she can't see into, or the driver has to come out where it would be easier to attack the officer.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2011, 05:10:09 PM by belfert » Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Oonrahnjay
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2011, 05:31:26 PM »

(snip)  I'm asking what people actually do on those kinds of buses.  

    Dunno about any other kind but a shop that charters out "party buses" has what they call perimeter seating - the seats are like couches around the sides of the bus.  there are "dance poles".  I think one or more buses may have a driver's belt but that's it.  There are no belts for passengers.  Drunken passengers occasionally fall out the side doors.

    On my bus, there will be belts for driver and front passenger ("riding shotgun" or "The Management's seat"), also I plan an occasional passengers seat between us -- that will have a seat belt, too.  There will be a front facing sofa-seat upstairs looking right out the front windows and it will have seat belts.  All other seats (dinette, casual seat, etc.) will have a small placard "Do not occupy this seat while the vehicle is moving".   (I'm working on the design theory "comfortable drinks for 6, dining for 4, traveling and sleeping for 2".  Others may be welcome to join at times but it might be good if they don't expect much.)
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2011, 06:41:26 PM »

I have never seen any bus type of vehicle with seat belts yet.  

All of the new first-class buses put into circulation here in Mexico in the last ten years have passenger seat belts.

Ours (1981) only came with seat belts for both driver and shotgun seats.

We are considering some kind of seat belts at least for the sofa, because we want to be able to put the grand babies in their child seats.
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Dr. Steve, San Juan del Río, Querétaro, Mexico, North America, Planet Earth, Milky Way.
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2011, 07:07:17 PM »

The major first tier line/charter coach company here has purchased new MCI J models coaches equipped with seat belts in every position for both the 2010 and 2011 purchases.

The wind is blowing too strongly, it will be legislated, just a matter of when. This is based on paranoia and not science, but there's no stopping paranoia where votes are to be gained/lost.

There is little chance there will be a retro-fit clause, it would be impractical to engineer belts into an existing coach, never mind the complete economic insanity of trying.

As for a coach sized RV, I would expect the driver to be belted, in order to keep the body in the seat during wild movements, after that, the coach didn't have belts anywhere else...

I would fully expect that no one will be ticketed for seatbelts in a bus/RV unless some other foolishness has attracted the attention of law enforcement here in Ontario.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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belfert
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2011, 07:25:26 PM »

I suspect the reason charter companies are buying buses with seat belts is partly for liability reasons.  If a charter company was offered a bus with seat belts and declined the seat belts some lawyer will sue them for lack of seat belts in an accident.

Will we see insurance companies refusing to write policies for new charter buses if they don't have seat belts?
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2011, 05:59:21 AM »

The reason I find this confusing and wanted to pose the question is that I've been on the TTC buses that are regular city transit buses, loaded to the gills with many standing passengers, I've been on the Go Transit MCI's when a train has been cancelled that are all seats full and 30 people standing (fun to watch how the suspension compensates and how the drivers get on and off the highway and through the city streets without dumping the lot).  Then read about how RV'r's are so anal about it, and think about the virtual impossibility of retrofitting seatbelts into my bus (I do design seatbelt installs for race cars, and there is little structure in the floor of my bus that could meet the engineering requirements that I have, which is 3500 lbs static load for each half of a seat belt).  And I wonder for a while, and then I stop, and just never bring extra passengers on the bus when I am driving higher than around 30 mph and a short distance at that.  Compromises...

Brian
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1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2011, 09:05:04 AM »

There is not a single seat belt in my bus! the kids just wander around. I can't think of where a belt could be mounted without welding in a roll cage.
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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2011, 09:13:39 AM »

We have belts built into the two captains seats on our coach...so if my bolt-down job is weak, the we go flying like pilots stuck in their ejector seats. Other than those two belts, the rest of the coach will not be fitted with belts until we have kiddos. I am NOT going to rip up a nice leather couch to install seat belts.  Roll Eyes
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Scott & Heather
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Oonrahnjay
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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2011, 09:18:54 AM »

 (snip)  Compromises...    

   Yeah.  OK, here's some pretty irrelevant background.  For decades, people had crowded onto buses.  They are driven by professional drivers and maintained by professional mechanics and the accident rate (esp. for city buses) is pretty low.  So, for decades, the opinion has been "we've been carrying 20 standing passengers on buses as long as we remember and very few people get hurt and if we stopped standing passengers, then we'd have to increase the size of our fleet by 20% and hire drivers and mechanics to match - it's just not worth the $$ so we'll keep carrying the standing passengers".  Also, there's the opinion that if a bus hits anything it will pretty much knock a big hole in whatever it hits so crash forces will be low on the bus; the idea also was that buses are so big and heavy that side impacts don't "penetrate" much (and will be below the passengers) -- finally, it was thought that in a rollover, the big heavy chassis of a bus will crush the lighter structure where the passengers are anyway -- why spend $25,000 to put in seat belts to hold passengers who will be killed anwyay.  Also, bus seats are designed so that the tall seat backs restrain passengers in the event of hitting anything.

   (I'm not saying that this is smart, or a good engineering solution, or a guide to how we should do things -- it's just how the "design and operation philosophy" went for years.)

   When the US "Highway Traffic Safety Act" was passed in the '60, the US Government began looking at Federal safety standards (and the Transport Canada cooperated in this and adopted the same or similar standards for Canada, so we're talking about all of N America) and the safety engineering staff began to look at what and how vehicles should be fitted with seat belts.  I'm sure that bus operators told them "it would be too expensive and it's not necessary" and bus manufacturers told them "we design for passenger safety and it's not necessary" so the government requirements for years have been "seat belts not required in buses".

    And from the classic government Cost/Benefit analysis, it makes good sense.  In fact, the law says that they have to have a positive Cost/Benefit.   If they're looking at spending $500 million dollars to prevent $100 million in injuries, they're not allowed to do that.

    The next thing began to be an emotional response, mostly from the parents of school children, "if there are seat belts in cars, why aren't there belts in school buses".  The old "they aren't necessary" arguments came out again but it's hard to fight emotion with reasonableness.  And then there were personal injury suits "my poor, injured client wouldn't have been hurt if the bus company had put belts in the bus so you should award my client $100 million in damages" (and don't mention that I'll take $33 million of it for being his "protector").

    So, that's the historical situation on "why buses don't have seat belts" and why it's a murky situation today.  But basically, I don't care about all that -- as it applies to my converted bus.  I'm going to have enough properly designed seats for the number of people who will travel on my bus and they'll have useful seat belt protection in all those seats.  If four extra people want to crowd in for a 30-mph trip a couple of miles down the street to a restaurant, will I be worried?  No, but for actual travel, all occupants will have belts.
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
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« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2011, 09:21:26 AM »

None of the entertainer coaches I have ever traveled on had seat belts anywhere but for the driver. Even if they did, not likely anyone would have worn them. People are laying down, standing up, sitting sideways playing their guitars, etc...
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Oonrahnjay
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« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2011, 09:34:59 AM »

  None of the entertainer coaches I have ever traveled on had seat belts anywhere but for the driver. Even if they did, not likely anyone would have worn them. People are laying down, standing up, sitting sideways playing their guitars, etc... 

   Yes, that's fine with me -- that's their choice.  Every mile I drive (or ride in my bus), I'm going to wearing a seat belt.  I don't have to make a Cost/Benefit analysis; I went to school for 17 years and then worked for almost 40 years so that I could retire and make every minute count enjoying myself.  This bus is a big part of what I see as enjoyment for the rest of my useful life.  I'm going to make it as safe as I can -- I don't want to spend months with injuries when I could be driving and having an adventure.

   (I'm not saying that that's "right" for everybody or that it ought to be law or that that has any bearing on whether there should be belts in TTC buses in Trahhnnaw or school buses in Omaha.  It's just my way.)
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
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« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2011, 09:39:24 AM »

No worries. I like living in a country where everyone can make their own decisions... Remember when we used to live in that country?

I was just responding to what the original poster asked. Seems there always has to be a philosophical discussion when someone mentions seat belts. I have a number of friends who would be dead if they had been wearing their seat belts. Funny, how those never show up in the studies that get posted. Just like I had a cousin who died because of her motorcycle helmet in a crash too... That is why those things should be choice and not legislated.
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mike802
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« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2011, 07:34:11 PM »

My concern about seat belts in a "motorhome" is that seat belts are designed to protect the occupant from being thrown forward in a head on collision.  When people are sitting in a sideways position the seat belt is not going to be subjected to the same forces it was designed for.  The old lap belts were updated with the shoulder restraints because the lap belts were causing injuries that the shoulder restraint's could protect against, but still in a forward facing collision.  Seat belts in a motorhome where passengers are sitting sideways, and backwards will subject the seat belts to unknown forces that could cause more harm to the passenger.  Those low backed dinnets should probably have high backs to protect against whip lash also.  To me it just looks like unknown territory, but for forward facing passengers it a good idea, I do not like the idea of being thrown out the windshield and run over anymore than the next guy.
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« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2011, 12:58:22 AM »

  Ive seen a few Buses after a wreck, and a few others have been posted here. Its not very pretty. Hit anything big in a Bus, something like a Ford Expedition, if your rolling very fast its likely to kill anyone in the front of the Bus. For all practical purpose, the seat belts only safety purpose is to keep the driver bound in his or her seat so they can maintain control in extreme maneuvers or upsets. For as big as they are, Buses really aren't built as much like a Locomotive up front like many would like to think they are. And too, there is so much weight behind it, that unless it was built literally, like a tank, its still going to crush like a pop can starting at whatever end is taking the hit. Even in a light 35 footer you could have as much as 25000 pounds behind you, plus a Towed, showing your nose into whatever you stuck it into. In a hard collision its going to compress everything back to the first bulkhead, and your likely going to be in the middle of it. You REALLY dont want to hit ANYTHING.

  One of the first Buses we wrecked was an old GMC fishbowl. The entire driver station was displaced from the middle of the windshield all the way to the first passenger side glass, like a giant Shark had taken a bite out of it from the roof to the ground. Only it was still all there, just crushed back, steering column, gear box, dash, drivers seat, pedals, all squished back to the first bulkhead. The story was the driver lost control, seen he was going to hit a Giant Elm Tree, and dove into the stairwell just before impact. If he had been in his seat, there is absolutely no doubt he would have been squished like a bug. Might wanna make sure your seat belt will unlatch post haste, just in case ya wanna run. They don't call the Bus drivers position the kill zone for nothing.

  Passengers in Buses are pretty safe in accidents because in most accidents the Bus so far  outweighs whatever it hits by such a wide margin a Bus more often plows through it or runs it over. While that Ford Expedition "could" kill a Bus driver, the Bus is pretty much hands down going squash that Ford into oblivion and send its occupants to meet their maker. You don't want to get hit by a Bus. So while the people you hit are in a bad spot, and the Bus driver isnt much better, the passengers usually just a get a big bump and rapid slow down, etc, while the Bus makes its last stop. There is no telling whats going to happen to the slippery naked ladies riding the poles in the back, don't think I want to know. But you can be sure someone will get it on cam.

  Put another way, if you hit anything so big or so hard the passengers need seat belts, its likely such a bad accident it probably wont make any difference and could actually hinder their safety. These arent cars with nice cushy crush zones and air bags, its a Bus.
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Just Dallas
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« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2011, 08:19:04 AM »

This doesn't really answer Brian's original question, but here are state by state laws according to Woodall's:

http://www.woodalls.com/articledetails.aspx?articleID=2799181
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